The news stream surrounding Mother’s Day was overwhelming this year. Over 250 Girls kidnapped in Nigeria and missing for weeks. A college campus shooting an hour from us. Families still waiting for word about their missing loved ones on a Malaysian airplane.
If I focused on the stream of news for too long, I felt like I was drowning in sorrow. So much hurt. So much pain. So many who need help and love and comfort. Where does one even begin to help?
Then I remembered my Mom and how she has lived for the past 30+ years. The waters of sorrow receded as I realized – I know what to do. She’s shown me all my life.
Mom’s knitting needles clicked away the miles – whether a thousand mile road trip, or a dozen miles to Grandma’s for Sunday lunch. She finished afghans in weeks that take most women months to complete. My childhood mind imagined mom knitting in her sleep, or with super-secret-magic needles that continued the work while she rested. How else could she finish such a pile or projects every year?
I once asked her if she was going to keep a blanket she was crocheting. “No, I’m giving this one to the missions closet.”
She gave away everything she made. All that work, all those hours, just to give it away. I didn’t get it.
“Why don’t you ever keep anything you make?” I asked.
“I don’t need any of it! Besides, I get such joy from giving it away.”
My childhood church supported over 100 missionaries across the globe. When missionaries became part of our church family, they received so much more than a couple hundred dollars a month. They became beneficiaries of an organization of women who supplied whatever they needed. My mom was one of those women who met monthly to fill the list of supplies for the missionaries’ needs. They cut strips of gauze and rolled them as bandages for the medical teams. They sewed hospital gowns in all sizes. They hot glued teaching aids for children. You name it, they made it. Not only did they meet the needs for the missionaries’ work, they also supplied personal needs. If a family needed a new blanket for a bed, they got it.
Mom prayed over her projects, even the yarn she selected. She once completed a gorgeous bed-sized crochet blanket that went in a shipment to a couple who requested a new blanket for their bed.
Months later, a letter came to the church filled with thanks for the beautiful blanket Mom had made. The colors matched their bedroom perfectly; an added bonus. Mom gave praise to God saying He even coordinates colors.
Mom taught me that we can change the world by using our small moments every day to serve and pray.
A few minutes here. A short car ride there. An hour here. Her small minutes every day added up to countless projects that people used across the globe to share God’s love with others. We all can give a few minutes, a few hours every day, every week, to pray and to serve those around us. Rather than thumbing through a news stream, what could your mind and hands do in those spare minutes instead?
After I was married, my parents left my hometown. I wondered what Mom would do next. She had served that missions organization for decades. I feared leaving would be worse than empty nest syndrome.
I shouldn’t have feared. Mom had barely unpacked her sewing machines when she called to say she had found another organization to help in their new city. This organization supplies hospitals across Ohio with baby items such as blankets, hats, preemie clothes, and burial gowns. If a family has a preemie baby, or a child who stays in a NICU in a hospital within a few hour radius of the organization, they are helped by this group of women.
Mom taught me that we change the world by serving in whatever community we find ourselves, with whatever skills and passions God has given us.
We most likely don’t have to invent something new. Organizations and groups exist all around us who could use our help. We just need to open our eyes and pray about where God can use us. When we all do a little and help where we can, the impact is compounded.
My skills and passions are different than my mom’s. I can knit and sew, but my attention span doesn’t last long enough to finish a doll dress, let alone a queen size blanket. But I have the gift and passion for words. Mom can sit at a sewing machine all day, and I can sit in front of a keyboard all day. God gifts us each differently to fill different needs in the world.
We won’t be able to meet all the needs and help all the people around the world, but we can start where we are with what we have.
So how will you change the world around you? Who needs your skills and passion? A community garden? Your neighbor? An anti-trafficking organization? Is this a season for serving your family, whether your children or parents?
What burns in your heart and calls you to action? Where is God calling you to serve, and how can you take a step to begin today?
Let’s not be overwhelmed by the hurt in the world. Rather, let’s overwhelm the hurting with God’s love.
[tweetherder]We can start to help the world wherever we are with what we have.[/tweetherder]
[tweetherder]Let’s not be overwhelmed by the hurt in the world. Rather, let’s overwhelm the hurting with God’s love.[/tweetherder]
[tweetherder]What Mom taught me about changing the world.[/tweetherder]